Northern NJ Go Red For Women Luncheon

As my year as Miss New Jersey International winds down, I was asked to attend the Fifth Annual Northern New Jersey Go Red For Women Luncheon by the wonderful and amazing Robin.  Here’s a quick photo of Robin (right), Meaghan (left) and I from the Meadowland’s Heart Walk this past summer:

Go Red for Women

Each year cardiovascular disease claims the lives of over 930,000.  While many believe heart disease primarily affects men, the affects on women are equally as scary!

Did you know that…

  • One out of three women dies from heart disease.
  • Nearly 460,000 women every year die from heart disease, this is about one woman per minute
  • Every year since 1984 more women than men have died of cardiovascular diseases.
  • 43 million American women are currently living with Cardiovascular disease
  • Cardiovascular disease kills more women than the next 4 leading causes of death including all cancers

The Go Red Luncheons are wonderful social events where women (and men) dedicated to making an impact in their community come together to raise awareness, educate and raise funds to fight heart disease and stroke.

Go Red for Women

Mingling with the amazing sponsors and supporters of Go Red for Women and the American Heart Association is always engaging and entertaining. These women (and men!) are a fun group!

photo 3


Natural Products Expo East


During 2013, I had the opportunity to attend some of the largest conferences and vendor fairs in the gluten free world.  From the Celiac Disease Foundation’s National Conference to the the Gluten Free Allergen Free Expo, I met many influential members of the Celiac Disease community and business owners that are working hard every day to support Celiac Awareness and make life easier for the gluten free community.

I’m so excited to share that 2014 will be no different! Kicking off this year, I’ve been invited to speak at the largest natural products expos on the east coast, Natural Products Expo East.  In 2013, over 24,000 people attended this expo representing 95 countries!  I’ll be participating in a Gluten Free Round Table with some other amazing people in the gluten free community sharing insights and tips for retailers wanting to add gluten free options to their stores.

The Natural Products Expo East will be held at the Baltimore Convention Center from September 17-20, 2014.  Currently the Gluten Free Round Table is schedule for Friday, September 18.  More details will follow in the next few months!  For now, here’s a recap of the Natural Products Expo East 2013:


P.S. I’ll be providing insight from the perspective of a gluten free individual shopping at a retail location.  If you have anything you’d like to share with retailers new to gluten free, please leave a comment below or email me at

Willie Villie Meets Casey Kramps in Sprueville: A Children’s Book Review & Giveaway

While I was at the Gluten Free Allergy Free Expo, I got the chance to meet Elena Torsiello.  Elena is both a fellow New Jersey resident and Celiac.  Like many of us, she suffered through years and years without an accurate Celiac Disease diagnosis.


I was so grateful for the chance to speak with Elena as she is also a dedicated advocate for gluten free living and helps those new to Celiac Disease understand the life-changing diet.

While speaking with her, Elena shared Willie Villie Meets Casey Kramps in Sprueville, her children’s book, with me.


Inside the book, Casey is a little boy who is newly diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  He meets Willie Villie from Spruton (so cute!) who shows him how to life a happy and healthy gluten free lifestyle.  The story is quick moving and the illustrations inside by Eileen Rothstein keep kids entertained along the way.

This is a great teaching tool if you have a little one in your family who was recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease but doesn’t quite understand what it means yet.  Another great way to use this book is if you have Celiac Disease yourself and you’re looking to share it with your little ones who are just learning that mommy or daddy ‘eats a little differently’ than most people.

Elena was so gracious and offered me an extra copy of the book to sign and giveaway to one of my lucky readers.  If you have a little one at home that would love this book, make sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below.   Not a fan of Rafflecopter?  Another way to enter is to simply leave a comment below on who you would read this book to if you win.

I’ll be choosing the winner on Saturday, September 28 so stay tuned!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rose’s Wheat Free Bakery

Imagine walking into a bakery and being able to try everything in the display case.  That’s what it is like at Rose’s Wheat Free Bakery.

I almost felt dizzy as I walked into Rose’s Wheat Free Bakery, a 100% gluten free bakery, in Chicago and took a look at the entire gluten free menu!  Here’s a small sample of all the gluten free goodies that laid before me:

Rose's Wheat Free Bakery
Although I was in Chicago for the Miss International pageant and only a day away from the Fitness wear competition, I decided to splurge a little on some delicious gluten free treats.  For lunch I chose the Avocado Chicken Wrap which was absolutely amazing. The gluten free pita was warm, the avocado was ripened to perfection, and it even came with a homemade dipping sauce.

Gluten Free Pita

I stole a few bites of the Rueben sandwich and B.L.T sandwich from my family.  The homemade gluten free bread was great.  It didn’t crumble like most breads.  When you order a sandwich, you also get to choose what kind of gluten free bread you’d like it on.  The options are: bagels, baguettes, challah bread, french bread loaf/rolls, plain sandwich bread and vegan seeded sandwich bread.

Gluten Free Rueben

Gluten Free Rueben

Gluten Free B.L.T.

Gluten Free B.L.T.

Then my family decided to each get a few desserts and share.  We had an eclair, blueberry cheesecake, a giant ‘oreo’ type cookie, and a cinnamon roll.  Yes, they were ALL gluten free.  

Gluten Free Bakery

Here’s a peek at the yummy cinnamon roll:

Gluten Free Cinnamon Bun

After lunch, I got a chance to meet the friendly kitchen team at Rose’s Bakery, too:

Gluten Free Bakery TeamGluten Free Kitchen Team One of the most amazing moments was speaking with Rose, the Bakery’s owner.  She was diagnosed with Celiac Disease over 17 years ago.   Her story was similar to my celiac disease diagnosis because her mom was diagnosed first then eventually she was diagnosed as well.

Rose Owner of Rose's Wheat Free Bakery

If I lived in Chicago or was planning to move there anytime soon, I would make sure I lived within a 10 minute drive from Rose’s.  I give them a 10/10 for being both extremely well-educated on Celiac Disease and having a 100% gluten free menu for both meals and desserts.  Thank you Rose for an amazing experience at your bakery.  I hope to be back soon!

Have you ever been to Rose’s Wheat Free Bakery? Share your experience in the comments below:

My Journey to Miss International: Day One in Chicago

Yesterday was my first day in Chicago on my journey to Miss International. After a super early wake up call, I landed safely in Chicago thanks to the great team on Southwest. They really gave me the royal treatment!


While the Miss International pageant week doesn’t officially start until tomorrow, I arrived a few days early to support my big sister queen, Ceylone the reigning Mrs. New Jersey International during the Mrs. International finals last night. She did a wonderful job! Congrats to you Ceylone for placing top 10 out of 70 amazing women! You’re truly an inspiration.


I also finally had the opportunity to meet fellow Celiac Awareness Adocate, Brandy Wendler, face to face after connecting via social media so long ago! She was amazing and really made our Celiac and gluten free community so proud by placing 1st runner up!


I also want to congratulate the new Mrs. International 2013, Mrs. Illinois International Amy Gregorio! You were stunning on stage, and I can’t wait to see everything you accomplish throughout your reign.

As I look to the busy Miss International week ahead, I’m filled with excitement for the endless possibilities that are up ahead as I look to raise awareness for Celiac Disease internationally and become an advocate for the International Pageant’s alliance Go Red for Women.

If you’d like to see photos and live tweets during the week, don’t forget to like my Facebook page and follow my journey on Twitter!


My Journey to Miss International 2013

As I finish preparing for my journey to compete for Miss International 2013, I wanted to take a moment to reflect all of the amazing opportunities that I’ve had so far as Miss New Jersey International 2013 and showcase some of my fabulous sponsors.

Here’s a quick look at some of the photos of my reign as Miss New Jersey International 2013:

Future Miss International Titleholders

Gluten Intolerance Group of Long Island’s Expo

Movin for Milie

Movin for Millie – A Fundrasier for Alzheimer’s


Celiac Disease Foundation's National Conference

Celiac Disease Foundation’s National Conference


Spending time with Crunchmaster - a Gluten Free Sponsor of My Celiac Awareness Efforts

Spending time with Crunchmaster – a Gluten Free Sponsor of My Celiac Awareness Efforts

American Heart Association Meadowlands Heart Walk

Volunteering at the American Heart Association’s Meadowlands Heart Walk


Participating in the Gluten Free Lifestyle Panel at #140you Conference

Participating in the Gluten Free Lifestyle Panel at #140you Conference


Xquisite Color & Cuts of Hoboken

Working with everyone at Xquisite Color & Cuts of Hoboken

Gluten Free Cookbook

Releasing my own Gluten Free Cookbook on Amazon for Kindle

Celiac Awareness Night with the New York Yankees

Celiac Awareness Night with the New York Yankees

Sharing my gluten free journey at the NYC Celebrate Celiac Event

Sharing my gluten free journey as a Special Guest at the NYC Celebrate Celiac Event

I also want to thank my family and friends for all of your support as I journey to Chicago for the opportunity to take Celiac Disease Awareness from a National to an International level!

Without my mom and dad, I wouldn't have the courage to dream bigger than the stars - thank you!

Without my mom and dad, I wouldn’t have the courage to dream bigger than the stars – thank you!

I'm blessed to have such an amazing pageant family behind me, too! Thank you to my directors, Scott and Jodi, their wonderful daughter Sami, and my pageant sisters Ceylone and Grace!

I’m blessed to have such an amazing pageant family behind me, too! Thank you to my directors, Scott and Jodi, their wonderful daughter Sami, and my pageant sisters Ceylone and Grace!

Looking ahead, I have quite an exciting line up of events.  Here’s a few:

Don’t forget: If you’re looking for a special guest or speaker at your next event, email me at

Gluten Free & Allergen Free Secaucus Expo

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be a special guest and an official blogger for the Gluten Free and Allergen Free Expo at the Meadowlands this year!

They have an incredible line up of exhibitors for this year’s expo.  If you’re a first time attendee at a gluten free conference, imagine walking into an expo hall with tons of food samples.  Typically you would have to question every exhibitor about the ingredients in their products.  At this gluten free expo, everything will be, well, gluten free! You may be overwhelmed at first, but that will quickly fade and turn into ‘uh oh, I just gained 10 lbs in 10 minutes.’ Don’t worry though because you’ll be busy walking around the expo hall and burn it off!  Once you’ve tried everything, you’ll be happy to know that there are also classes to help you with your gluten free education.

Check out some of the classes that will be offered at the Expo:

Gluten Free Allergen Free Expo Schedule

I’m definitely looking forward to the ‘How to Make Your Own Gluten Free Pasta’ session as well as my friend (and founder of Kicking 4 Celiac Foundation) Craig Pinto’s ‘Achieving Goals After Celiac Diagnosis’ workshop.  I met Craig at the Celebrate Celiac event in NYC where we were guest speakers, and he has an amazing Celiac and Crohn’s Disease diagnosis story that you have to hear!

If you’re interested in attending the Gluten Free and Allergen Free Expo in Secaucus September 7 -8, click here to get more information about the expo and get your tickets.

Will you be at the Secaucus Gluten Free Allergen Free Expo this year? Tell me in the comments below!

The New Gluten Free Grill: 40 Delicious Gluten Free Recipes for the Grill Cookbook Release

glutenfreegrilling2I’m so excited to share my exciting news with you!  My brand new gluten free cookbook, The New Gluten Free Grill: 40 Delicious Gluten Free Recipes for the Grill, was just published exclusively on Amazon for Kindle!

This new gluten free cookbook features 40 gluten free recipes for the grill from appetizers to desserts and showcases some of the best gluten free sauces and marinades for meals which will make summer grilling easier for you this summer.

Even though the gluten free diet is restrictive, there is no reason why our gluten free meals can’t be just as tasty as any other meal!  With recipes ranging from Crackled Peppered Balsamic Lettuce Hearts to Grilled Mahi Mahi and Avocado Coleslaw Tacos, The New Gluten Free Grill reveals a variety of gluten free recipes that can satisfy any palate.

Are you a blogger?  I would love to send you a review copy of my gluten free cookbook! Please send me an email at with the subject line ‘Gluten Free Cookbook Review’ and a little more information about you and your blog.

To get your copy of The New Gluten Free Grill: 40 Delicious Gluten Free Recipes for the Grill, click here.

New York Yankees Celiac Awareness Night and Celebrate Celiac Event

Attention to all of my fellow New York/New Jerseyians!  The New York Yankees and Gluten Free Calendar are teaming up for a Gluten Free and Celiac Awareness Night on July 12th that will benefit the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University.

If you can’t make the Yankees’ game on Friday, the Gluten Free Calendar will be hosting a Celebrate Celiac™ event on Saturday, July 13th where I will be a special guest as well as Craig Pinto, former arena football player now inducted into the American Football Hall of Fame.

You can read more about the Celebrate Celiac Event on the Gluten Free Calendar’s site here.

GFC NYC Yankees Celiac Awareness Night

If you’d like to join us on July 12th at the Yankee Stadium for the Celiac Awareness Night, you can purchase tickets here.

My Packing List for #CDFEXPO

The Celiac Disease Foundation’s Gluten Free Conference and Expo is this weekend in Pasadena, CA.   I’ll be inside the Peer Support Lounge on Saturday from 10 -11am, then visiting throughout the Exhibitor Hall.  You can also catch me at the Crunchmaster booth later in the day and on Sunday morning.

When traveling, I like to snack which can be hard to do when you’re traveling on a gluten free diet.  Even though I’m only taking a carry on suitcase, I’m still making room for some delicious gluten free snacks to enjoy on the plane ride out to California.

Here’s a sneak peek into what I’m taking:

Gluten Free Snacks

Crunchmaster has always been a staple snack food for me since I found their gluten free crackers.  This year they’ve introduced their gluten free Crisps, and I can’t stop eating the Cheezy Crisps! You’ll find them in a very easy-to-reach location in my purse on the flight.

Gluten Free Protein bars are a favorite of mine to carry while traveling. You don’t always know when the next fulfilling meal is going to come from – especially if you’re in a new area.  I’ll be bringing the Oatmeal Raison bar from the Gluten Free Bar with me this weekend.

While at the GIG Expo last weekend, I got to try the Kitchen Table Baker’s Crisps.  They are entirely made out of cheese, which as you may know holds its own separate category on the food pyramid for me.  These delicious bites will also be coming along for easy and cheesy snacking.

I never travel anywhere without a supply of Emergen-C.  These packets are jammed full of essential vitamins and nutrients to keep your immune system running at its best.

Finally, every gluten free girl needs some sweets while she’s on the road.  The amazing people at Mama Baretta in Penngrove, CA found out that I was attending the Celiac Disease Foundation Expo and sent me some goodies to bring on the plane.  While my fellow passengers are snacking on the complimentary peanuts, I’ll be spoiled at 30,000 feet with gluten free amaretti cookies, gluten free chocolate chip cookies and their award-winning gluten free Caramel Florentina cookies.

Mama Baretta Gluten Free

What are some of your travel snack favorites? Share them in the comments below!